Winter is here and cold season is in full swing. There seems to always be something going around where I work, and I hear people sneezing and hacking all over the place. Thankfully, there are many natural products that can help both prevent and speed up the recovery from colds and flus, and I like to take a multi-faceted approach, using a little bit from a variety of healing modalities.
Prevention really is the best medicine, so as soon as I know someone in the office is sick, or if my husband is coming down with something, I start my counter-attack. I like to fight the virus from all angles with a variety of natural remedies, and it really works – I have not gotten a flu shot in probably 15 years (and wish I had never gotten them, but I did a few times) and have not had the flu, nor do I hardly ever catch a cold.
This is what I use:
This remedy can be used for a bunch of conditions, and one of them is colds. I take this as soon as I feel that little tickle in the throat or start feeling tired and like I’m coming down with something.
These are tiny little pellets that come in small vials. The instructions say to take an entire vial at the time, but my homeopath says that that is not necessary, you only need about ⅓ at a time. That’s what I’ve been doing, and it has worked like a charm when taken at the first sign of something coming on.
I always make my own body oil and vary the essential oils depending on what I need at that time. For colds, I use a few different carrier oils (favorites at the moment are jojoba and olive squalane) and a couple of skin-safe essential oils with anti-viral properties, such as Ravensara (Agathophyllum aromatica), Niaouli (Melaleuca viridiflora), Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii), etc. (Min hudolja means My body oil in Swedish :-))
Note that you only need a few drops of essential oils, and never put them directly on the skin, always dilute them in a carrier oil. I make a 2.5% dilution at most (25 drops total of essential oils in 50 ml of carrier) and massage in a palmful of the blended oil on my arms, neck and stomach as soon as I get out of the shower in the morning.
I make a simple room spray with half distilled water and half grain alcohol and then add a couple of antiviral essential oils (I use a total of 40-45 drops essential oil to 100 ml of water/alcohol mix). Spray in the air in each room and wait for a few minutes for the drops to settle before going back in the room. NOTE: make sure there are no pets in the rooms where you do this.
Antiviral hand aloe
My own antiviral, gentle alternative to those harsh alcohol-based hand gels you see everywhere. I use organic aloe vera gel and add a few drops of skin-safe anti-viral essential oils (15 drops total in 30 ml aloe).
NOTE: These are my own products for personal use and I label them to give to friends and family. The statements on the labels have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.
One of the easiest ways to use essential oils is to inhale directly from the bottle. And it’s effective too; studies have shown that the molecules are in your blood stream only seconds after you sniff the oil. Pick your favorite anti-viral oil and inhale several times a day. You might find that you prefer different oils on different days, or even within the same day, so try a few and see what you like (which in my opinion suggests that that’s the one your body needs).
Sambucus (black elderberry syrup)
Sambucus not only tastes great (even kids love it), studies have confirmed that it enhances the immune system and is effective against a variety of viruses.
My homemade herbal chai is actually a great cold and flu-fighter. All the herbs and spices in it are known to have antimicrobial properties (and more), and it tastes delicious, so it’s an easy “medicine” to take!
Eat foods that support your immune system, like kefir, red peppers, kale, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and broccoli, and spice them up with garlic, thyme, oregano and turmeric. A stir-fry is a great way to get a healthy dinner on the table quickly.
Sometimes “sweating” a cold out works, but sometimes, you just don’t feel well enough to do that (and if you have a fever or the cold has gone down in your lungs, don’t!). A gentle and very effective alternative is qigong. I recently started practicing and I absolutely love it. It’s soothing and energizing all at once, and research studies have shown that it increases immunity (and has a ton of other health benefits as well). It’s also easy to do at home; my favorite DVDs are Lee Holden’s qigong DVDs.
I am the first to admit I never sleep as much as I should; I just can’t seem to find the time for more than 5-6 hours/night. But when trying to avoid a cold, it is imperative to get at least 7-8 hours/night. If you have trouble falling asleep, try to do some abdominal breathing and / or meditate. It activates your body’s ability to heal itself, and it always puts me to sleep.
If you do get sick in spite of doing all this, keep doing it! You’ll lessen the severity of the cold or flu, and you will also get well quicker.